When AEDAMAR KIRRANE embarked on a postgraduate course after TEN YEARS AT THE BAR, she not only found a NEW PATH but also decided to be fearless and grey at 50 …
My hair began to go grey in my late thirties. Without hesitation I coloured it. A vague plan formed in the back of my mind that when I reached the age of 60 I would embrace my grey hair. Sixty seemed the appropriate age to move gracefully into that next stage of life. Confidently, I postponed all internal discussion of the issue for another 20 years. For sure, I looked forward to being a glamorous, grey-haired, older woman. I loved the archetype of the grey-but-still-stylish wise-woman. The image greatly appealed to me, suggesting profound self-acceptance and deep self-confidence both of which signalled wisdom to my mind. I looked forward to when I too would be wise!
However, in 2017/18, in my 49th year, the stirrings of self-reflection that I had confidently postponed until I was 59, began to seep into my consciousness and the debate in my mind about going grey began in earnest. What had brought forward this discussion by a full decade? At the age of 40 my life had taken a dramatic and unplanned turn. Originally I had worked as a barrister. Self-employed women get the worst deal of all on maternity leave – precisely none. As an understatement, I will say it was a very difficult time, trying to maintain my career and to be there for my two young children as I wished. Ultimately I threw my hat at my career in despair.
The financial crash of 2006/07 followed on a short few years later so that when I was ready to consider returning to work, it was financially pointless for me to contemplate trying to rebuild my legal career and pay for childcare in that disastrous financial climate. It made as much sense to start from scratch on a new career path that actually resonated with my real interests, as to start off again at the bottom of the pile at the Bar. Of such crises is the rich tapestry of life made.
I returned to UCD, where I had studied Law, this time to study Philosophy and English. The excitement I felt at embarking on this new voyage of intellectual discovery translated into pure pleasure to be in the lecture halls listening to brilliant academics teaching us how to interrogate the Big Questions of Life. It felt exactly like coming home. I should have been doing this all along, but who knows anything when filling out a CAO form at 17?
I did the BA part-time over five years to fit it around my young children and family life. A lot of ducking, diving, determination and planning was needed but it didn’t feel any price at all when weighed against the pleasure of this deep dive into Thinking. I studied after I got the children into bed at night, and I rose early in the morning to prepare for tutorials and write essays before getting the kids up and dropping them off to school. Nowadays the student creates their own university timetable, and that enabled me to be free for the school collection each day. It was hard but when we love what we are doing there is no real cost. My husband, big-heartedly and generously, without ever once complaining, did everything to cover weekends when I needed to study for exams or meet essay deadlines. I graduated with double first class honours, taking first place in Philosophy, and in the process I found out who I really am.
If the quest in life is to come into our authenticity, as the Oracle at Delphi advises, then I was on track. The experience of coming to know where my true interests lay was transformative. Everything about life looked different after my degree. I now knew where I stood and why. I didn’t yet know this was heading in the direction of grey hair but it was. By 49 I had also graduated from the MA in Creative Writing in UCD. I had finished writing my first novel and so far I have three rejections for it under my belt. Fifty was right around the corner but I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Finding a life that resonates with our soul’s longing is real happiness, and I was now happy in way I never had been before. Believing to my very bones that we are all connected in the most intimate and profound way through the bond of Love, I developed the idea of becoming a philosopher-teacher of Love. I knew that my fulfilment lay in teaching my own curriculum on the philosophy of Love. My 49th year was rolling on and I became very busy planning and designing a website, and setting up Aedamar Kirrane Love School which will launch this September with the novel idea of teaching Love. Embarking on the life of a philosopher-writer specialising in the philosophy of Love was a pure joy to me. A whole new vision for my future was unfolding.
At 49-and-three-months I took two very short but life-changing courses online with Dr Claire Zammit of Evolving Wisdom. The first, called, “Feminine Power”, ran for seven weeks; and the second, called, “Influencers”, ran for nine weeks. These were remarkable experiences of accelerated learning. Claire’s and Dr Jean Houston’s genius lies in their gift for articulating the way in which women best succeed in life which is fundamentally different to how men succeed. The astonishing riches these eye-opening courses provide is to guide women into a new feminine way of doing business. The central jewel for me was learning how to build the confidence I needed to go out into the world with my new offerings. This deep learning provided me with the tools for countering my residual self-doubt and lack of confidence about what I was undertaking. Within 16 weeks, I had learned how to harness the passion of my dream to become a teacher of Love and the deep skills needed for building self-belief and confidence. I now believe that I can indeed do all that I dream of doing in life. In March 2018, at 49-and-six-months, I stopped colouring my grey roots.
At 49-and-nine-months, empowered and emboldened in a way that was true to who I am, I set about building my offering – designing inaugural classes for my Love School, preparing content for my podcast and my blog, and also writing a book about the healing power of Love in the world. The horizon line of turning 50 in August 2018 was now fast approaching, and as this massive milestone in my life inched ever closer, I realised I was not scared. I was excited. I have no fear because I am abundantly happy with my life and I have a clear vision of my future. In fact, my future no longer lies somewhere in the future – it is happening now. I am no longer waiting for my new career to happen, I am in the process of making it happen.
It became clear to me then, that all those things I had expected to happen by magic in a decade’s time at the age of 59/60 when I would go grey, were in fact already happening. By dint of sheer hard work and determination I was already entering the older-wiser archetype who has achieved deep self-belief and profound self-acceptance. I had naively believed, that at 60, I would miraculously, effortlessly, come into these gifts, as a natural rite of passage. I had believed that going grey at 60 would somehow effect my transition into wisdom for me. I had it all backwards. The colour of my hair would not bestow any fine wisdom on me. Rather, it has been the case that my hard-won self-acceptance, and the deep soul work I have done to come into my authenticity, were the portals to this next phase of life. Now, just past my 50th birthday on August 20, I realise that I have won for myself all that I presumed would be gifted by a fairy godmother at 60.
And if all this is true, then there is no longer any reason to colour my hair. I have already done for myself what I thought grey hair would do for me in a decade’s time. My truth can now confidently be reflected in the true colour of my hair. I am deeply grateful to be proceeding gracefully and fearlessly into the next stage of life, which has come a full decade earlier than expected.
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